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Ahead of budget, Piyush Goyal gets temporary charge of finance ministry

Arun Jaitley has been designated as minister without portfolio during the period of his indisposition or till such time he is able to resume his work as Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs, according to the Rashtrapati Bhawan communiqué.

budget Updated: Jan 23, 2019 21:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Piyush Goyal,Arun Jaitley,Budget
Union minister Piyush Goyal briefs the media in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

Piyush Goyal has temporarily been given charge of the finance ministry in view of Arun Jaitley’s indisposition, according to a communiqué from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The statement said the President, acting on advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had directed that during the period of indisposition of Arun Jaitley, Minister, “the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Shri Piyush Goyal” in addition to the railways ministry.

The temporary allocation of the finance ministry to Piyush Goyal comes just a week before the presentation of an interim budget, the NDA government’s last before Lok Sabha elections expected to be announced a month later. There is no clarity immediately on which of the ministers will be presenting union budget scheduled for 1 February.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan also said Jaitley has been designated as minister without portfolio during the period of his indisposition or till such time he is able to resume his work as Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs.

This is the second time that Piyush Goyal will be the interim finance minister; the first was in May last year when Arun Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant. He resumed charge as finance minister several months later, in August.

He left for the United States for medical checks earlier this month.

The interim budget that the government will present is expected to go beyond approval of spending till a full budget is presented by the next government. Changes in direct tax, which will result in tax savings to the middle class, and steps to address farm distress could figure in the budget.

At an event for business leaders by CNBC-TV18 that he addressed via video conferencing, Jaitley had hinted at a farm relief package for distressed farmers ahead of the pre-election interim budget that he was to present on 1 February.

“Without getting into the specifics, because that would be disclosing the mind in which we are working, (I can say that) you cannot opt to wait on some of the challenges. Therefore, obviously, there will be a necessity to address them. It has happened in the past. So we intend to work within the parameters of the conventions as they exist,” he had said.

First Published: Jan 23, 2019 21:28 IST

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